David vs Goliath

Last week Greenpeace launched a vital new campaign for Australia. We’re taking on the massive coal mining and coal export expansion plans particularly in Queensland. These mega coal mines, coal port infrastructure and increases in coal shipping traffic not only spell disaster for our climate but for Australia’s national treasure – the Great Barrier Reef.

We knew we would have a tough battle on our hands, and after just a few days, it has already proved true.

It is no secret that Greenpeace is trying to raise funds in a David vs Goliath fight against the massive PR budgets of the mining industry. Yet this morning, The Australian and Financial review ran negative front page stories after they got hold of a confidential version of a funding proposal to try to raise up to $6 million including to support communities defending themselves against mining giants.

The mining industry has weighed in behind with all its media and political influence. They are calling us ‘economic vandals‘ (Rio Tinto), stating that we are attacking Australia’s ‘national interest‘ (Minerals Council) and that we are running a ‘clandestine campaign‘ (New South Wales Mineral Council).

This is simply not true.

Greenpeace is not anti-growth or jobs. We are an environmental group trying to stop the ecological devastations of climate change (of which coal is a major contributor) and are seeking to move Australia towards a clean energy future.

While we wouldn’t have actually planned our campaign roll out quite like this, we welcome the public debate that is ensuing BUT it must be one where we talk about the true scandal: how dramatically increasing coal industrial activity will be an environmental catastrophe. Some of our concerns are:

  • By the end of this month the federal government may approve building the world’s biggest coal export port (at Abbott Point) in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
  • Proposals are in place to more than double Australia’s coal exports. The scale of these coal exports would contribute to pushing the climate past the 2 degree tipping point.
  • UNESCO is in Australia right now to assess the impacts industrial developments may have on the reef. The coal industry is attempting to turn the attention away from them and UNESCO’s visit. We should be talking about our precious reef and our climate which are at serious risk from the coal boom.

So where to now? To date, we haven’t received any funding for the proposal but even if we did, it would be a drop in the ocean compared with the budgets of the fossil fuel industry. In the last 2 years, the Minerals Council alone spent $21 million on advertising and broadcasting.

It won’t be easy to challenge the excesses of the coal industry, which is why we are trying to raise funds to support local communities to defend themselves against mining giants.

We need help on two fronts.

  • We need money to go towards our funding proposal. Please donate to us here if you can.
  • Please sign our petition and share it with your networks

© Maritime Safety Queensland

  • Steve

    If Greenpeace is successful in limiting or ending the mining industry in Australia, how do you propose to replace the royalties State Governments receive from these industries? Remember these royalties finance our hospitals and other essential services.

    Is Greenpeace as active in China, India, Indonesia, South Africa, or Russia who dig significant mounts of coal as well? China digs and burns more than 8 times the amount of coal we dig out.

    Isn’t it obvious that stopping Australia digging coal will have absolutely no impact as other countries will just take up the slack …

    Top Ten Hard Coal Producers (2009e)
    PR China 2971Mt South Africa 247Mt
    USA 919Mt Russia 229Mt
    India 526Mt Kazakhstan 96Mt
    Australia 335Mt Poland 78Mt
    Indonesia 263Mt Colombia 73Mt
    Source: International Energy Agency 2010


  • Good case made by David Day, about need to reduce crazy scale of coal export projects.


    If we did the right thing about cattle, with live exports to Indonesia, being humane about stun before kill, how about doing the same with coal? Why not be humane to climate, by coal export licences only to customers who have CCS(Carbon Capture and Storage) in place? Our leaders are still serious that CCS is viable and vital, as if it will arrive tomorrow, or the next day, our technology, hugely exportable too. So how about it, no export licence only to customers validated with CCS already?